Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #89: "Junk of the Heart (Happy)" - The Kooks

English indie band The Kooks have experienced resounding success in their home country, but that notoriety has never really translated in America. The band previously had a few singles that charted modestly on Billboard's Alternative charts, but they had never made much of an impact.

It seemed like the four-piece was destined to follow the trajectory of many other British bands in America -- popular in the native land and to the Anglophiles of the United States, but little else.

"Junk of the Heart (Happy)" doesn't dispel that notion, but it's the most distinct step forward yet for the band in terms of garnering American acclaim.

Coming off the new album of the same name released in September, "Junk of the Heart" begins with a slight retro feel and maintains it throughout the entirety of the song. It emits a chill vibe, helped by its minimal instrumentation and yearning lyrics and vocals.

The chorus is where the song finally comes alive. Prior to then, it's pleasant enough, but nothing to write home about. But here, The Kooks have written what may be their catchiest melody yet, one which will be stuck in your head for quite a bit after listening.

A fuzzed-out guitar solo (if you can call it a solo) complements the vocals toward the end, but it's Luke Pritchard's lovesick vocals that knock this song over the edge. It's The Kooks' most accessible single yet, and that's not a bad thing at all.

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